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A Labview Interface For Transistor Parameter Analysis: An Opportunity To Explore The Utility Of Computer Interfaces

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative & Computer-Assisted Lab Study

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.52.1 - 9.52.10



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Paper Authors

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Sami Alsaialy

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Dalia Tawy

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Thomas Schubert

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Susan Lord

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1426

A LabVIEW Interface for Transistor Parameter Analysis: An Opportunity to Explore the Utility of Computer Interfaces Thomas F. Schubert, Jr., Susan M. Lord, Dalia M. Tawy, Sami D. Alsaialy University of San Diego


National Instruments’ LabVIEW has become a popular programming environment for data acquisition in academia, industry, and government labs. One of its major advertised advantages lies in creating instrument control interfaces at a user-appropriate level for the task at hand.

At the University of San Diego (USD), the electronics laboratory contains two transistor curve tracers: one simple to use but limited in capability (Tektronix 571) and one more complex both in capability and user interface (Sony/Tektronix 370). Because of the perceived difficulty in using the more complex instrument, students tend to gravitate to the simpler instrument thereby creating a bottleneck in laboratory productivity. In an attempt to alleviate this bottleneck, two USD faculty members decided that LabVIEW could provide a more user-friendly interface for the complex instrument.

During a two-semester long research experience, two electrical engineering seniors at USD developed a LabVIEW interface for a Sony/Tektronix 370 Programmable Curve Tracer and wrote a comprehensive user’s manual under the supervision of two electrical engineering faculty members. The interface was designed to approximate the level of user interaction and knowledge required by the department’s Tektronix 571 Curve Tracer. Two groups of electrical engineering students, juniors taking a required first-semester electronics course and seniors enrolled in an analog IC design elective, tested the interface the following semester. By having two distinct instruments and using two separate student groups we were able to compare the utility of the new LabVIEW interface to the traditional interface of a more user-friendly instrument for both first time users and seasoned users.

The LabVIEW interface, student response, and comparisons concerning instrument utilization will be discussed in this paper.

INTRODUCTION All Electrical Engineering programs include significant study of semiconductor electronic devices. Important to that study are the characteristic current-voltage (I-V) relationships and determination of ac model parameters for specific devices. Experimentally, these characteristic curves and parameters are usually determined with a commercial curve tracer. At the University Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Alsaialy, S., & Tawy, D., & Schubert, T., & Lord, S. (2004, June), A Labview Interface For Transistor Parameter Analysis: An Opportunity To Explore The Utility Of Computer Interfaces Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13453

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